It's easy when you're young! Up to a certain age our eyes work automatically and quickly adjust to different distances without us even noticing. It feels perfectly natural to look up from checking emails or choosing the next song on our smartphone playlist to greeting a friend in the distance and then immediately looking down again, all with perfectly sharp and clear vision. We are blissfully unaware of the smooth adjustments performed by the inner workings of our eyes - such as the effort of the ciliary muscles and the eye’s natural lens.
As we get older, our eyes experience a steady decline in their ability to "accommodate", in other words to switch focus between different distances. Some people notice that they find it harder to focus on distant objects, though that is often preceded by other symptoms – for example tired, irritated eyes at the end of a long day or even headaches or neck pain.
Taking a look back at the end of the day, we may realise that we have spent long periods using our smartphone or that we took a long drive in heavy traffic where our eyes were constantly flicking towards the navigation system.
Our eyes typically feel better after a good night's sleep, though some people also use home remedies such as cooling eye compresses. People also reach out far too readily and easily for painkillers to combat the associated headaches and neck pain. But have you ever wondered whether the answer to the problem might lie in choosing the right glasses?